March 3, 2002 · 1:00 AM PST ·
TWO QUICKIES, then I have to get back to the deadlines and social obligations I mentioned in the previous post...
My cousin David has an article in today's New York Times about his strange relationship with his psychiatrist. Click here to read a nice piece by the other writing Evanier.
And thanks to all of you who sent birthday greetings and I'm sorry I haven't had time to respond. Yes, yesterday I hit the big
five-oh and, no, it didn't bother me one bit. I long ago decided that it wasn't me; that the entire world is now going through a mid-life
Back to stuff.
March 2, 2002 · 1:00 AM PST ·
AND A LOVELY, laugh-filled evening it was tonight as the Museum of Television and Radio saluted The Daily Show With Jon
Stewart. Present were Mr. Stewart, writer Ben Karlin, producer Madeleine Smithberg and correspondents Steve Carrell and Stephen
Colbert. A very funny reel of clips was shown and then the panel took questions...although Jon Stewart seemed intent on responding to each one
without actually addressing it. Among the few things of substance he said were that he thought the controversial comments that got Bill Maher
in trouble were "asinine" and that he [Stewart] thought it was ridiculous for anyone in America to claim that their viewpoints were being
suppressed. Later, asked if he might someday run for public office, Stewart replied, "Hey, there are photos out there of me with my dick in
bean dip." (Dr. Robert Batscha, the somewhat serious President of the M.T.&R. who moderated the event, promptly informed the audience, "We
have them at the museum.")
My guess is that most of those in attendance came away impressed at the lightning-cleverness of Stewart — and everyone on the
dais, for that matter — but with next-to-no insight on how The Daily Show gets done.
On the subject of Letterman and Koppel, Stewart would only say that he doubted ABC would let Koppel get away, and that he found it
ridiculous that such a trivial story was on Page One of The New York Times. Asked by an audience member if he'd jump back into late
night if a network backed up a Brinks Truck of cash, Stewart shrugged and said, "I'm only human," but didn't seem particularly interested in changing
jobs. Granted, a tribute to the show you're doing is hardly the place to indicate a desire to move up to ostensibly better things, but Stewart
sure didn't act like he expects that to happen.
UNLESS SOMETHING big happens, we probably won't be updating this website for a few days. I have a long list of deadlines
and social obligations that need to be met. And if I owe you an e-mail — and I probably do — please be patient.
March 1, 2002 · 8:00 PM PST ·
SPOKE TODAY to a couple of folks who are in and around the Late Night Teevee Biz. They reinforced a lot of what was said
in the previous item, and the consensus seems to be that a Letterman move to ABC is a longshot. This evening on The Newshour With Jim
Lehrer, Bill Carter himself only pegged the likelihood at around 20% — which makes one wonder if the story even deserved the prominence it
was given. One person who seems to have inside info gave me a likely-sounding theory to answer my question, "Why is this in the paper?"
The theory is that Letterman's people were worried that it would leak in the form of, "Dave — who once tried his damnedest to get Jay Leno
fired — is now going after Ted Koppel."
By releasing the story as they did, they made certain it included the spin that ABC is considering the dumping of Koppel anyway...which
is "sorta" true but is apparently far from a done deal. My source says ABC would be a lot happier if Mr. Koppel took fewer evenings off and if
Nightline did more to woo younger viewers. If he won't do either, and if a real good alternative presents itself, Nightline would
probably be history, at least in its present form and time slot.
But it's not a goner because, among other reasons, that real good alternative ain't there. Nightline has been getting
around the same ratings as Letterman, though with a less desirable demographic. That's not great for ABC but the show is by no means a
disaster, and claims that it and Politically Incorrect are losing millions are probably grossly exaggerated. Both would have been axed
long ago if that were literally true, as their ratings have not notably declined the last few years, nor have they become markedly more
expensive. (P.I. has a separate, unrelated set of problems. Some affiliates don't like its contents or feel it belongs on their
Today, some message boards are erupting with suggestions that Jon Stewart* or some other prominent comedian will get the 11:35 slot on
ABC or CBS — wherever Letterman doesn't wind up. In truth, it's not that simple. You don't cancel a show like Nightline
— with 4.5 million viewers — until you've got a replacement that you're reasonably confident will draw at least that many. At the
moment, of all the conceivable contenders, Letterman is the only one with any track record in that time slot. Jon Stewart might do as
well...but I doubt anyone in the TV biz, including Mr. Stewart, would bet their condos on that if they could avoid it. For the same reason, CBS
will probably settle with Dave...who can't be all that eager to uproot a secure show that has been slowly gaining in the ratings and move it to alien
turf and its inevitable uncertainties.
To answer a couple of questions...
One correspondent wrote to ask, "If Letterman does wind up at ABC, wouldn't Koppel just take Nightline to CBS?"
Nope. First off, Koppel might go elsewhere but he doesn't own the show. Secondly, CBS has launched its first-ever successful
entertainment franchise in that slot and isn't about to abandon that. Thirdly, if they did want a news show in that position, it would be a
major slap in the face of the CBS News Division to fish one out of a competitor's wastebasket.
Another asked if being on ABC at 11:35 was that much of a ratings benefit over being on CBS? Answer: No, not all that much.
Yes, ABC currently has stronger lead-ins but that could change rapidly...and anyway, during part of the year, Monday Night Football bumps the
11:35 show into a non-competitive position in many markets, one night a week. Letterman would have to come up with a new studio from which to
broadcast (he'd almost certainly stay in New York) and move his offices and figure out what he wants to have follow him at 12:35, et cetera, et
cetera. It's a helluva lot of work and risk for what might be a slight advantage...and might not.
I've gotta run but first, this footnote:
* I think Jon Stewart is one of the most brilliant host-type comedians working today. I'm off now to attend a tribute to The
Daily Show at the Museum of Television and Radio. If I get a chance, I'll post a report here later about the event and what, if anything,
is said about the above. Bye!
March 1, 2002 · 1:30 AM PST ·
SO ALREADY I'm getting e-mail asking what I think is up with the news that ABC is (a) ready to dump Nightline and
maybe Politically Incorrect and (b) offering David Letterman a rajah's ransom to make the leap. The story was broken this morn in
The New York Times by Bill Carter and if you didn't read it, here's a link to the piece. I haven't spoken yet to anyone with inside info but I
think we can deduce a few things by asking the simple question, "Why is this in the paper?" The fact that Mr. Carter got a lot more than
denials and "No comment" means that the story was leaked — presumably by Letterman's people. The obvious motive would be to put pressure
on CBS, where negotiations for his contract renewal are probably not giving him what he wants...yet.
To me, the most interesting question is what could be a deal point that would drive Dave to ABC? Could it be money?
Probably not. There's no reason CBS couldn't match whatever ABC would pay. Could it be less network interference? Again, probably
not. The Carter article notes that Letterman has had his differences with Les Moonves at CBS...but Dave's been in the biz long enough to know
that network vice-presidents have short life-spans, and that you don't sign a long-term contract because you like this week's execs at one company
more than this week's execs at another. Besides, Letterman already has almost total control of his show, and CBS wouldn't lose a major profit
center over the few matters that may be at issue.
Could it be, as Carter seems to suggest, that Letterman thinks the ABC demographics and lead-ins would make him more competitive?
The difference isn't all that enormous; not enough to warrant all the tumult that a switch would involve, including some inevitable staff shake-ups,
probable loss of the Ed Sullivan Theater and cutting Craig Kilborn's show adrift...to say nothing of the sheer uncertainty of beating whoever his
successor on CBS turned out to be. Besides, if we wind up with three entertainment-oriented talk shows in that slot, carving the audience three
ways instead of two, someone is liable to get hurt and that someone could be Letterman. It could be real embarrassing to make the switch and
not get higher numbers, either because of increased competition or because the network itself didn't matter all that much. One might also
recall that right after Dave migrated to CBS, its demographics and lead-ins changed dramatically. No one can say it won't happen again.
No, my guess is that CBS and Letterman were simply at an impasse over all the usual issues (money, control, promotion) and that the
network wasn't taking seriously the fact that Dave had an allegedly-solid offer from ABC. Releasing this story, as they have, makes the threat
more real and turns up the heat on CBS to cave...as they probably will. Carter's article would read a lot different if Letterman really wanted
to go or CBS didn't want to keep him, and both have plenty to lose in a divorce and not all that much to gain. It might happen but it would
have to be over something petty and personal, as opposed to something that made sense for either side. On the other hand, a lot of what went on
the last time Letterman switched networks was petty and personal...from all sides.
So where does that leave Ted Koppel? Carter's sources at ABC probably said what they said because that network's cooling to the
whole idea of Nightline. With the rise of Fox News, MSNBC, CNN (et al), that show doesn't make as much sense as it once
did. It was created, let's remember, during the 70's hostage crisis and when it's dipped in ratings since then, folks at ABC have usually
figured that it would rise and fall as major news stories dominated the news. That hasn't happened. The 9/11 terrorism was as big a story
as anyone could imagine and it only bolstered Nightline's numbers for a little while, and not by all that much. Its survival may have a
lot to do with whether Koppel, who's been absent a lot lately, makes a renewed commitment to it. If they snare Letterman, it'll probably be
axed or moved to another timeslot where it can quietly fade from view. If they don't snare Letterman, then it'll probably endure until a
terrific candidate emerges who can go head-to-head with Dave and Jay. No names stick out at the moment but eventually, one will.
And where does this leave Bill Maher? The replacement of Nightline would probably mean his exit from ABC, if only because
whatever went there would almost certainly be an hour and Maher wouldn't (or shouldn't) stand for being bumped to 12:35. If Dave's the
replacement, he'll want his own, hand-picked, owned-by-Worldwide-Pants lead-out, anyway. Still, in spite of what's implied in the Carter piece,
Politically Incorrect is probably quite profitable, at least when advertisers aren't defecting. It wouldn't surprise me if Maher turned
into the big winner in all this, with Fox and various cable channels climbing over one another to lock him up. The show doesn't cost a lot to
produce and some of those other venues are a lot more comfy with controversy than the Disney-owned ABC.
In any case, it's nice to have a new Late Night War in the news. But remember this about Late Night Wars: They make great
copy and a lot of feelings get hurt...but in the long run, most of the key players survive and everyone involved goes home with a lot more money than
when they started. It's just like Wrestlemania except that nobody gets hit over the head with a folding chair. Or, at least, they haven't
February 28, 2002 · 6:30 PM PST ·
AND CHECK OUT Joshua Micah Marshall's
explanation of "astroturf" political campaigning...not to be confused with genuine "grass roots" campaigning.
February 28, 2002 · 5:30 PM PST ·
WE HIGHLY recommend Michael Kinsley's column today on Slate
and in various newspapers. And stick with it until the end.
February 28, 2002 · 12:00 PM PST ·
ABOVE is the cover to what I think is the only Marx Brothers-related book that is not present in my library. It's a
paperback that was published in England in 1946 to tie in with the release of one of their weaker features. This and other Marxian rarities can
be viewed over at the Marx-Out-of-Print Page, which is chock-full of hard-to-find
writings about the brothers. They have a mess of them, including a couple of eminently non-vital articles that I wrote for bad money in the
seventies. Vastly more interesting are things like a repro of an issue of Life with photos of Harpo and his friends. There's a
picture there of George S. Kaufman in a hammock that I think is the only time I've ever seen him in a pose that could be described as "casual."
Anyway, if you're interested in the Brothers Marx, hustle over to that website and browse around for a while. It's not often I see
Groucho/Harpo/Chico stuff I've never seen before so there's probably something there that'll be new to you.
THE FIRST THREE comic book companies that published Groo went bankrupt and one of them
experienced a flood that wiped out their offices. The fourth has had some legal messiness while the fifth and current American publisher (Dark
Horse) is still oddly functioning and healthy. This has disappointed some folks who cottoned to the notion that the book was some sort of
publishing jinx. Such people will be gratified to know that The Malaysian Sun — a newspaper that was reprinting Groo in,
you guessed it, Malaysia — just announced that it was floundering and would be laying off two-thirds of its staff. We're all so
WE'VE ADDED more pics of wild beasts that have been sighted in My
Backyard. I hope you people appreciate how I'm risking life and limb for these.
February 27, 2002 · 11:30 PM PST ·
THE MUSEUM of Television and Radio in Los Angeles is having its annual William S. Paley Festival — two weeks during which
they "salute" TV shows with special evenings featuring clips and special guests. Years ago when I started attending these, they were all about
Your Show of Shows and M*A*S*H and other shows that were ranked as undeniable classics. More recently, someone at the museum
seems to have decided that withstanding any test of time greater than about eight weeks is asking too much. This time, they're saluting The
Bernie Mac Show, Curb Your Enthusiasm and several others that seem a tad too recent for any kind of historical overview. (A notable
exception: March 6, they're covering the TV work of Fred Allen.) Tonight's seminar was devoted to Martin Short, a spotlight which might strike
some as a bit premature.
But if someone thought that, the lengthy package of clips that opened the evening would have convinced them it was well
warranted. It commenced with a 1976 clip for an obscure Canadian variety show, jumped to The Associates, then to SCTV and
Saturday Night Live. This was all followed by several specials, TV-movies and short-lived series, wrapping up with the current Primetime
Glick. Throughout, one saw Mr. Short in a stunning array of very funny characters. You forget how much he's done and how good most of
it has been.
The clips were followed by a chat with Short, including questions from the audience. He probably struck everyone present —
the place was packed — as very funny, surprisingly modest and uncommonly in-touch with whatever reality exists in show business. At one
point, asked about what it's like to hang out with the likes of Steve Martin and the SCTV alumni, he replied, "When we're all together, it's just
like it is when you're with your friends, except that my friends are incredibly wealthy." He declined to speak ill of anyone, despite a few
attempts by audience members to extract such tales. (The gent sitting in front of me identified himself as the father of a recent Saturday
Night Live cast member and seemed eager for negative stories about Lorne Michaels. Short said simply that he had none.) Having seen a
few folks at past M.T.&R. seminars go on and on about angst and turmoil and idiots at the network, it was somehow refreshing to listen to someone
who's pretty — but not insufferably — happy with what he's done and how he did it.
One other quotable thing: Short was asked about all the rumors that he was going to play the Leo Bloom role in the musical of The
Producers. He said there had been talk but that he'd never received an offer.
The William S. Paley Festival continues through March 12 with events held up at the Directors Guild Theater on Sunset Boulevard.
Many of the evenings are sold out but tickets are available for some. The whole schedule can be found over at www.mtr.org.
THE INTERVIEW I did with Paul Harris on his peachy radio show is now on-line if anyone wants to hear it. It's just us
chatting about Chuck Jones for 15 or 20 minutes and here's a link to the
page where you can hear it, assuming you have RealAudio installed. To be honest with you, while I was over at www.HarrisOnline.com hooking up that link, I found a lot of interviews with other folks that were a lot more
interesting, including one with Gabe Kaplan about how Groucho Marx almost appeared on Welcome Back, Kotter. The stories he tells are
basically true, although I don't think Groucho ever came to any of the dinner breaks on the show. If he had, he'd have died a year
earlier. Gabe, however, forgets about the time Groucho did come to appear on a taping and wasn't up to a performance, as detailed in the second
half of a two-part article posted here. I also enjoyed the conversations I listened to with Mac King, Bob
Newhart, Leonard Maltin and a few others. Paul's a first-rate interviewer.
February 27, 2002 · 1:30 AM PST ·
IN ACTING LINGO, a "cold reading" is when a performer is handed a script and is expected to give a performance with little
(usually, no) prep time. This is an invaluable skill and most actors would be well advised to brush up on it and keep in constant
practice. Alas, in too many cases, a "Cold Reading Workshop" is a rip-off enterprise designed to separate wanna-bes from their cash. In
theory, you pay for the workshop, not for the fact that a casting director will be there to hear you and critique your reading. In actuality,
what it amounts to is that aspiring thespians who have no legit means of getting seen by those who hire are, in essence, paying to audition.
A legit, respectable casting director would never participate in such exploitation. For one thing, it's illegal to charge someone
to audition and, even though they might say the fee is for the class, not the access, that's not how it works out. For another thing,
it's simply wrong. The casting director is paid to be familiar with the talent pool and ought to be seeing those who come highly recommended,
not those who fork over money. Alas, not all casting directors are perfectly ethical so Cold Reading Workshops have wrung a lot of bucks out of
the Stars of Tomorrow and/or the Daily Grill Waiters of Today.
But this stops and it stops now, thanks to a group called DoNotPay.org — a consortium of casting folks who don't like seeing
their profession debased, plus actors who...well, the actors' motivation is obvious. Headed up by casting director Billy DaMota, the group
petitioned the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement for the state of California and has gotten them to declare Cold Reading Workshops
illegal. Here's a press release about the decision.
I think this is terrific news. Such "classes" are not the only way in which up-'n'-coming actors are shaken-down but this one's a
biggie. If you are seeking a career as a performer, you should pay reasonable fees for photos and demos of your work (like tapes or CDs) and
you should pay reasonable fees for actual acting classes and for books and tapes that help you hone your skills. But you should never give Dime
One to anyone who says that it'll help you get seen by "the right people." In this case, "the right people" are "the wrong people."
February 26, 2002 · 1:30 AM PST ·
THE OPERATOR of this website will be showing his face (and perhaps other body parts) at this year's WonderCon in Oakland,
California. It transpires April 19-21 at the Oakland Marriott City Center and I'll be appearing on a panel with my buen amigo, Sergio
Aragonés, celebrating the 20th anniversary of our wandering idiot, Groo. I'll also be moderating a couple o'
panels on comic book history — like I do, ad infinitum, in San Diego — and they'll probably feature Julius Schwartz, Irwin Hasen,
John Romita, Creig Flessel and others who make my 30+ years in comics look like a temp job.
The Wondercon is now owned and operated by the group that brings you the Comic-Con International each year in San Diego, so a great con
will probably get even better. For more info, get thee to www.wondercon.com.
BOOMERANG — the offshoot of Cartoon Network — is running a Chuck Jones Marathon, commencing at 8 AM on Friday, March
1 and running 'til 8 AM the following morn — 24 hours of cartoons. It's kind of amazing to realize that, even if they don't repeat any
during that span, they still won't be airing all that he did for Warner Brothers and MGM. Chuck directed 207 cartoons for WB and directed (or
supervised, with others directing) 34 more for MGM. So that's 241 cartoons. During marathons, Cartoon Network seems to manage about seven
shorts per hour, so that's 168 films...or about 70%. Figure in the TV specials, features and other shorts for which Jones was responsible and
it's obvious that a solid day of Chuck won't even cover half of the man's incredible lifetime output.
SPEAKING OF animation legends who have left us: George Singer, whose career in animation spanned nearly 50 years, passed
away Feb. 10 at the Motion Picture Hospital in Calabasas, California. He was 78 years old and may have held the record for working for the
greatest number of major animation studios. His résumé included lengthy stints at Famous Studios in New York, Halas-Bachelor in
England and then, in Hollywood, tours of duty at (among others) Warner Brothers, Format Films, Hanna-Barbera, U.P.A., Marvel Productions, San Rio
Films, Steve Krantz, DePatie-Freleng and Film Roman.
It was at the last of these that I worked with him. He was the first producer of the Garfield and Friends series discussed
elsewhere on this site and a fine job he did in that post, indeed. George was an old-timer who never acted like one. He'd directed, he'd
animated, he'd designed, he'd cut film...and even just before his retirement, he still loved everything about the form. We didn't always agree
on everything but I never doubted for a second that he was a first-rate talent who knew more about making cartoons than anyone else I'll ever have
the honor to work with.
February 25, 2002 · 1:30 PM PST ·
LET'S HAVE A HAPPY FIZZIES PARTY! No, on second thought, let's save our DNA and stomaches and not have a Happy
Fizzies Party! I just came across these rather old pictures of a product I always felt should have, "Not to be taken internally" stamped on the
outside. Back when I was a kid, a Fizzies drink was fun to make. You dropped a tablet into a glass of H2O and it bubbled like
Alka-Seltzer, turning the water — and if you touched the tablet, your fingers, as well — orange or red or whatever the operative, alleged
flavor was. The fun, however, stopped when the tablet finishing dissolving and you sorta, kinda had to drink the stuff. That was the part
I didn't like. I'm not sure I ever finished an entire tumbler, even of the "Imitation Orange Flavor" variety...and that was my favorite.
As it turned out, this was a good thing. Later in life, I was diagnosed as having a very bad reaction to any kind of artificial sweetener.
Had Fizzies been more tasty, I might have ingested more of them and done God-knows-what to my body. A "Happy Fizzies Party" — as the
commercials kept urging us to have — could have been like some sort of 5th grade mutual suicide pact.
That was back when the product contained — as per the package depicted here — sucaryl and saccharin, and we thought those
were oh-so-much better for you than nasty ol' sugar or corn syrup sweetener. Today, they still make Fizzies and the key ingredient is
Nutrasweet, which has about the same effect on me as hemlock did on Socrates, only it probably doesn't taste as good.
It's odd that I have such fond memories of something that tasted so awful. I especially enjoyed the time I took about 20 Fizzies
tablets and hid them in the pockets of my friend Sidney Passey's swimming trunks. Sidney put on the trunks, jumped in the pool and his shorts
suddenly began to foam, as a rainbow of colors emanated from his crotch area. He later thanked me and said it gave him his first
erection. Now, that was a Happy Fizzies Party!
February 24, 2002 · 9:00 PM PST ·
WHEN THE PLANES hit on 9/11, Michael Moore's new book, Stupid White Men, was all printed. As it was a scathing
onslaught on the morals of George W. Bush and his associates, that did not seem like a grand time to release it. His publisher spoke of pulping
the press run and either forgetting the whole matter or, if Moore was amenable to a rewrite, issuing a much toned-down version. Moore was not
amenable and, after much yelling and probably some threats, the book is now out in its original form.
I haven't read it yet but even if it's wildly off-base, inaccurate and foolish, it could do a lot of damage to George W. Bush, his
administration and all that his supporters hope he achieves. Why? Because, as I write this, Stupid White Men is number one on both
the Amazon.Com and Barnes & Noble best seller lists. As Moore is just beginning a major book tour, it will probably reside on or about the
top of the sales charts for a while.
I am not suggesting that anything Moore wrote or that he might say on talk shows will change a lot of minds. America doesn't work
that way. Still, he may accomplish two things that could cause Bush & Co. a load of grief. One is that he may make it, if not
fashionable then at least not as unconscionable to attack the President. A lot of folks who might be slamming Bush have been laying low, lest
they be accused of treason, and this may give them the courage to speak out. And the other thing Moore's book may accomplish is to demonstrate
that a person can step up to big pay in the fast-paced world of Bush-bashing.
I'm going to show my cynical side here: I think we overlook how much of our public discourse is in the hands of pundits and columnists
who have two priorities and, often, the one that advances liberal or conservative causes is not, to them, the more important of the two. The
other is personal fame and fortune. They say what gets them on TV and makes money. I don't mean they don't believe what their shpiels
— though a few sure seem like they'd renounce every position they hold for the right price. Arianna Huffington, for instance, seems to
have found the competition among attractive conservative women too fierce and decided to stake out her turf in liberal country.
No, I mean even the pundits who earnestly hold the convictions they voice have learned that it's good business to be relentless and
even to exaggerate those convictions. It sure works for Talk Radio hosts. (And I dunno...if you found that espousing some opinion made
you rich and famous and caused audiences to cheer you, might you not tend to become more convinced of it?)
Early in the Clinton Administration, several publishers and pundits discovered that there was moola to be made from attacks on Bill and
Hillary. Even when Clinton had his 78% approval rating, the remaining 22% of America was willing to shell out serious coin for books that said
Slick Willy had been running drugs and having people murdered while he was busily boffing trollops in the Lincoln bedroom. There was —
and in some circles, still is — a hatred out there that liked to hear that William Jefferson Clinton was the Anti-Christ, and some didn't even
seem to care if the charges were dubious or disproven. I was genuinely disappointed when Peggy Noonan — someone I'd kinda admired —
wrote her anti-Hillary screed. It was kind of like, "I don't have anything of substance to say about Hillary Clinton but I can't miss this
chance to get a book on the Best Seller list."
Michael Moore may or may not have anything of substance to say about the current Oval Office occupant. That may not matter.
What does matter is that Michael Moore is atop the Best Seller list. If he's there a while, a lot of someones will decide — if they
haven't, already — that Bush-hating may be even more lucrative than Clinton-hating. And of course, the books don't even have to be
true. They just have to be vaguely credible to those who already hate the guy. Clinton was vulnerable because of all the rumors of his
womanizing and sleazy business deals. Bush is vulnerable because of all the rumors of his drug use and sleazier business dealings. The
latter may make excellent fodder for further best sellers as more corporations go the way of Enron and the public loathing for the Ken Lays of the
world intensifies. Whether it's valid or not — and nowhere here am I suggesting it is or isn't — it will not be hard to whip up
volumes that portray our current Prez (and even his father and Veep) as having habitually made millions off business deals where everyone else got
I said here before that I didn't think Enron would directly hurt Bush. I don't believe anyone will ever draw a connection of the
"smoking gun" variety between him and any illegal actions. On the other hand, he will never shake the association with corporate rape.
And Moore's book will spawn others...because he's proving that there's money in proclaiming the scandals of the Bush Administration. And the
buying public always gets what it wants...
ONE MORE THOUGHT about Chuck Jones: One would have expected the tributes and regrets that are now filling the animation-oriented
sectors of the Internet. What is even more amazing — and indicative of his influence — is the mourning taking place in forums that
have nothing to do with cartoons or comics. On political chat boards, sports newsgroups, discussion groups of all subjects, one finds an
outpouring of respect and people outside the cartoon community writing of their sense of loss. I suspect those of us who thought of Chuck just
for what he did for animation vastly underestimated his impact on American popular culture. He left his fingerprints on an entire generation or
February 23, 2002 · 6:00 PM PST ·
MORE THOUGHTS about Chuck Jones, who passed away last Friday at the age of 89. It's a jolt to realize that all of the
major directors of the classic Warner Brothers cartoons are gone: Bob Clampett, Tex Avery, Robert McKimson, Friz Freleng and now Chuck. (That's
Friz with Chuck in this news photo I found. I suspect, given what I recall of their relative heights, Friz was standing on something —
probably an animator — when this picture was taken.) Norman McCabe, who directed 11 WB cartoons during World War II, is still with us but
I'd bet even he would agree that, with the lost of Jones, an era has passed.
Chuck Jones directed several hundred cartoons in his lifetime. He directed poor cartoons, good cartoons and an astounding number
of the best cartoons ever made. An oft-heard remark among animation buffs is, "I never thought of Jones as my favorite director...but when I
sat down and made a list of my favorite cartoons, I found more of his films than anyone else's." I agree with those who feel that What's
Opera, Doc? has been praised far beyond its worth but leave that aside — in fact, toss out One Froggy Evening, Chow Hound, Rabbit
Seasoning, Duck Amuck, Duck Dodgers, Rabbit Punch, Cheese Chasers, Robin Hood Daffy and all the Road Runner cartoons. Throw away any fifty
great Chuck Jones cartoons, look at what's left and you still have an incredible body, not just of work but of timeless work.
Chuck, we can all be happy to remember, lived to see it discovered anew by several generations, each of which appreciated it as not
just entertainment but as an integral part of their ongoing childhoods. When I do chalk talks on cartooning at schools, the kids invariably
shout catch-phrases from the films — and that is not a shallow measure of something's worth. When you say, "I knew I shoulda turned left
at Albuquerque," people smile and even laugh, because it reminds them of a wonderful cartoon that made them smile and even laugh. Does anyone
doubt they'll be smiling and laughing at The Rabbit of Seville and other great Chuck Jones cartoons a hundred years from now? (That's
about when Warner Home Video will probably start releasing them on DVD...)
ONE OF THE nation's most popular radio personalities, Paul Harris, broadcasts his popular program out of St. Louis on "The Big
550, KTRS." His glorious tradition of interviewing the best and the brightest ends on Monday, 2/25, when the operator of this website joins him
for a chat about the legacy of Chuck Jones. It oughta happen around 1:30 in the afternoon, Central Time. You can find out more about Mr.
Harris's program at www.HarrisOnline.com. (There's a link there to listen online but
I never have much luck with those...)
MAYBE I'M DENSE...no, no "maybe." I am dense. But that's not the reason I don't understand something rather
basic about Internet Behavior. The other day on a public discussion board, my name came up. Someone forwarded me a message posted there
where a person wrote, "I'd ask Mark Evanier but I don't know his e-mail address."
How can someone not find my e-mail address? Even if it didn't dawn on them to try www.evanier.com (which forwards to this site, which has an e-mail link on every page), we have these things on the
Internet called Search Engines. I just went to ten of them, typed in "Evanier" and every one linked me to this site in under five seconds and
three of them yielded my e-mail address instantly. In the time it took that person to type that he didn't know my e-mail address, he could have
found my e-mail address six times.
It's not just info about me. All the time on public boards and newsgroups, I see questions that could be answered in under 30
seconds with a quick trip to www.google.com or any of several other popular Search Engines.
The Internet is a terrific resource for looking up info. I continue to be amazed at what I can find on-line and often with very little
burrowing. But you do have to look, at least a little. It's not enough to just post questions and hope someone will tell you the
DID SOME tidying-up here, installed some new logos and added another Incessantly Asked Question
to the pile. Fun, fun, fun.
Click here to read the previous NEWS FROM ME